If you're reading this article, the thing that you've always dreaded happening has finally become a reality. As your hairline recedes and your temples begin to thin, you're probably left wondering how best to deal with your impending baldness.
While there may be a number of short-term (and often expensive) solutions to male pattern baldness, you need to recognise that this is a genetic and progressive condition that impacts on around 40% of males aged under 35.
In this respect, you're best bet is to embrace your hair loss with confidence and strength, while reinventing your style to create a bold new look.
We recognise that this is easier said than done, of course, and below we'll offer some key styling advice while drawing inspiration from some of the world's most renowned bald men!
Before we get to styling, however, there's an important hurdle to clear. More specifically, it's important to create an open and positive mindset, and one that is willing to consider hair loss as an opportunity rather than a problem.
This is often embodied by a single decision, which is to shave your head rather than attempting to disguise or delay your hair loss.
This decisive and courageous act can be taken at any stage of your hair loss journey, while it often signifies a change in mindset and offers you to take control of something that you were previously vulnerable to.
Not only can this be extremely empowering and beneficial for your own self-esteem, but studies suggest that this may also alter the way in which you're perceived by others (including members of the opposite sex).
The first of these was conducted at The University of Pennsylvania, where groups of male and female respondents were asked to rate photographs of men according to confidence, dominance and attractiveness. The results were compelling, with bald men dominating each category from the perspective of both men and women.
One of the main findings from this research was that men with shaved heads are more readily associated with dominance and confidence, which are extremely desirable qualities both among women and potential employers.
Other, less formal studies have also focused on the way in which women perceive male pattern baldness and the men who experience progressive hair loss.
Perhaps the most interesting takeaway here is that women are largely indifferent to whether or not a potential partner has hair, with they way in which they handle male pattern baldness of far greater concern.
This supports the previous findings in some respects, but it also highlights the fact that attempting to hide to disguise your hair loss is extremely unattractive to the opposite sex.
Women also cited denial as an extremely unattractive quality, and one that betrayed an underlying insecurity and lack of confidence.
Similarly, some suggested that men who wore wigs or invested in similar hair loss solutions may be considered vain, which is a potentially negative quality that can undermine even positive relationships.
It was Seinfeld writer and Curb Your Enthusiasm Star Larry David who once opined that “women love a self-confident bald man”, and the studies that we've unearthed certainly seem to bear this out.
While such scientific talk may well be giving you a headache, it certainly underlines the benefits of grabbing the razor and shaving your scalp (we'll have more on this below).
If this remains a little too emotionally challenging for now, however, we'd at least recommend keeping your hair short and closely cropped as the stages of male pattern baldness begin to unfold.
Remember; a long hair style will simply draw attention to your hair loss, while a shorter cut will help you to adapt gradually to the notion of being completely bald.
Ultimately, the main fear associated with shaving your head is similar to the one that sets in when you begin to go bald in the first place.
Most importantly, you place too much of an emphasis on how other people will perceive you when you're bald, and whether they'll treat you any differently because of your hair loss.
This is completely irrational, of course, but such fears are commonplace when you go through such a socially and emotionally challenging process.
These fears may also be considered as being completely misplaced, as we've already seen how shaving your head can encourage others to see you as more dominant and increasingly confident.
It's difficult to find solace in this when you first begin to lose your hair, however, and the strength to shave your head must come from a different source.
More specifically, it's important that you derive the confidence to shave your head from within, as you learn to love yourself no matter what and develop an indifference to what others may or may not think.
In truth, your hair loss affects you and you only, and ultimately you're the only one who needs to embrace being bald and consider it as an empowering, potentially life-altering experience.
Remember, others have already walked the same path as you, including some of the biggest stars of the stage and screen.
These individuals all have a similar story to tell, and while becoming bald may not have radically improved all of their lives its very rare to find an instance where it made it worse.
It can also be argued that being bald is just as natural a state as having hair, particularly when you consider the unique stages of hair growth and that we continue to shed follicles throughout our lives.
This leads us on to one of the most famous ever quotes concerning baldness was delivered by the former Kojak star Tele Savalas, who said in a 1978 Newsweek interview that “we're all born bald, baby”.
The key thing to remember is that progressive hair loss can leave you feeling entirely powerless, and taking the decision to shave your head at least affords you some control over the situation and enables you to go bald on your own terms.
This in itself makes it an empowering act, while you should also keep in mind that being bald it's an entirely natural state to find yourself in.
Ultimately, you'll reach for the razor when you're ready, but keeping these points in mind will help you to gradually accept your circumstances and equip you with the courage to actively shave your head.
Once you've shaved your head, you'll probably wonder what all the fuss was about. This was even true in the case of the female Dutch entertainer Sylvie Meis, who shaved her head following a bout of chemotherapy and was quoted as saying “It's funny, the moment you dread the most, seeing yourself bald, is actually not such a bad moment at all,” in the immediate aftermath.
As you begin to acclimatise to your new look, you'll also strive to explore new and exciting styling options. We'll consider some of these below, while explaining how they can help to compliment a bald scalp.
At first glance, it appears as though a significant proportion of bald men across the globe sport a beard or facial hair of one form or another.
A number of Hollywood's leading men are also at the forefront of this charge, from Bruce Willis to Dwayne Johnson (or The Rock to you and me).
Believe it or not, there's actually some logic to growing a beard as a bald man, particularly in terms of the contrast that it creates.
In short, the growth of facial hair restores the balance that is lost when you begin to lose your hair, while it can also draw attention away from your hairline and striking, bald scalp.
With numerous styles and lengths of facial hair available, there's bound to be an option to compliment your face shape and newly shaven scalp.
The key is to select the right one, while remaining open to experimentation as you strive to identify the best and most viable style.
Next up is tanning, which is not necessarily exclusive to bald gents but certainly has the potential to invigorate your look after shaving your head. It also offers potential health benefits too in moderation, aside from creating a radiant skin tone.
It is proven to improve your mood, for example, which may be particularly important following a sustained period of progressive hair loss.
This can create significant stress and raise the cortisol levels in the body, placing a strain on your appearance and ageing you within a short space of time.
Natural sunlight just happens to be an effective stress buster, so short bursts of regular tanning can counter the raised cortisol in your bloodstream and help to cultivate a fresher, younger image.
After shaving your head on a handful of occasions, you'll also note that the skin on your scalp may become a little sore and sensitive. Incredibly, the process of tanning (particularly when using fake tan with an in-built moisturiser) can help the scalp to heal after this process, minimising irritation and redness as a result.
It's a little known fact that men with shaved head naturally look more athletic and muscular. The reason for this is simple; as the absence of hair creates a smaller head that provides a stark contrast with your shoulders, traps and the muscles in your neck.
As a result, these areas of the body appear instantly bigger, which is the reason why so many competitive bodybuilders shave their head prior to a show or contest.
So, by actually investing time in physical training and cultivating a high protein, low fat diet, you can further tone your upper body and create a muscular appearance that would have been a little harder to achieve with a full or thick head of hair.
This will also benefit your general health, of course, while the combination of a bald head and a strong physique creates an even greater appearance of dominance and confidence. In short, it contributes to an holistic and natural look, which simply oozes power and leadership.
Let's face facts; having a bald head is a bold and striking look, and one that may take some time to get used to. The way in which you dress can help to hasten this process, however, with some outfits complimenting the look and others undermining it.
In general terms, colour and accessorising should both play a key role in your new look. In terms of colour, it's important to remember that a bald head offers far less of a natural contrast, so you'll need to introduce a number of different shades into your wardrobe.
If you have pale skin, you may want to opt for darker colours, while lighter-skinned readers should seek a contrast in darker tones.
When it comes to introducing accessories, this provides a great opportunity to introduce more colour and a host of subtle but complimentary tones.
Sunglasses can also be effectively as they break up the tone of your face and scalp, while tinted lenses in standard eyewear can achieve a similar result.
It's also appropriate to dress according to the age that you look with a shaved head, as this also contributes to the type of natural and effortless image that we all crave!
As we've already said, shaving your head makes it more susceptible to irritation, so you'll need to take care of it and treat it right.
As well as using a moisturiser (either tanning or otherwise), you should also continue to shampoo and condition your scalp every time you shower. This keeps the surface clean and free from excess natural oils, which can build incrementally over a period of time. It can also prevent the onset of dandruff, which can continue to plague your scalp even without hair!
We'd also recommend applying a small amount of sunscreen during the summer, while hats can also reflect the heat and prevent your scalp from succumbing to the cold in the winter.
With these steps in mind, you can hopefully embrace your progressive hair loss and assume control of your circumstances, while also identifying the key style tips that will help to design your bold new look.
From this point, the world is your oyster, as your overcome male pattern baldness and actually turn this into an advantageous life event.